Collecting information upon some thing or some one can be beneficial, such as a doctor obtaining as much medical history that is available on a patient. On the other hand, collecting personal information can be harmful, especially if it is on individual citizens, or communal groups of citizens that will be used to "monitor" their activities, even if those activities are peaceful and legal. That is something done in socialist, fascist and communist countries. (In reality there is so little difference in those 3.)
For example, if I am going to write an essay on the use of flowers in the courting rituals in Southeast Flaberagastan as a school assignment I would spend long hours in the school and public libraries, as well as on the Internet. (Just make sure you can prove the validity of the info you find on the net! There's tons of false info out there.) In some of my college classes I had to write several long essays and include the sources of the information used.
In many of my jobs, especially in newspaper reporting and in substitute teaching at college, I would spend many long hours researching and sorting information from as many different sources as possible. In both instances there is the major priority and concern to insure the info's accuracy as much as is humanly possible. In the news business reporting falsehoods as truth can often damage a person's or business's reputation, and usually ends up with said person filing a law suit on the reporter et al.
Over the years our federal, state and local governments have grown into something that would make America's founding fathers wish they had done something different.
From the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) down and through miscellaneous other Federal agencies (CIA, Internal Revenue Department, etc.) your private and public lives are under scrutiny – where you live, your income, who you voted for, what church you attend, medications you take, etc. "ad infinitum" (look up that term). Our privacy is pretty much a thing of the past. If you do anything on the WWW from searching for info on the sex life of subterranean bacteria to recipes that'll help stretch your budget, someone from various commercial outfits and all the way to the various departments in the Federal Kingdom is looking at what you are doing.
So what is wrong with that?
Nothing... as long as you are content to have anyone and everyone have access to every part of you life and then use that access to make rules and regulations that force you to adhere to someone's political philosophy. This kind of government has had many names over the centuries from kingships to Nazi and Communist tyrannies.
One of the results of this governmental intrusion into our lives is that it gives power hungry agencies and bureaucracies the ability to gain more and more control over the decisions you and I make. If we dare to support a candidate that the in power leaders despise, we could find a multitude of hindrances (aka pressures) surfacing in our lives. One of these is already in use... as a certain political party tries to gain more and more control over what is displayed and discussed on the WWW. All they have to do is label your post as "disinformation," and your ability to voice your opinion vanishes.
I'm sure there are readers out there who vehemently dislike what I write. That's OK. You have the right and the freedom to do so. You can write letters to the editor against me and have your letters printed. You can see me on the street and voice your objections to me verbally... please don't shout or curse, though. I have a bad case of tinnitus as a result of my time in the Navy defending your right to disagree.
The right of free speech is one of the things our founding fathers fought for and made sure it was a part of our national foundation as laid out in The Constitution of the United States. It states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." Any and all attempts to reduce or take away the right of free speech should be rejected and fought against (non-violently) every time the attempt is made. Just because you or I find someone's spoken or written word disagreeable (or offensive) does not mean we have the right to shut them down.
If we lose this basic freedom we lose it all. And America ceases to be the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.
God help us.